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Living on Earth


As the planet we call home faces a climate emergency, Living on Earth is your go-to source for the latest coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health. Hosted by Steve Curwood and brought to you by PRX.

As the planet we call home faces a climate emergency, Living on Earth is your go-to source for the latest coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health. Hosted by Steve Curwood and brought to you by PRX.


Cambridge, MA




As the planet we call home faces a climate emergency, Living on Earth is your go-to source for the latest coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health. Hosted by Steve Curwood and brought to you by PRX.




20 Holland Street Suite 408 Somerville, MA 02144-2749 1-800-218-9988


The Reign of Wolf 21, Plant and Planet-Centered Eating, Celebrating the "Seven Sisters," and more

“The Reign of Wolf 21” is the true love story of an alpha pair who lead their Yellowstone pack with grace, courage, and an unbreakable bond. What these wolves can teach us about love, loyalty, and leadership. Also, our global food system feeds environmental crises like global warming and water pollution even as it fails to adequately feed billions of people worldwide. So in the 50th anniversary edition of “Diet for a Small Planet,” author Frances Moore Lappé renews her calls for a plant- and...


A Generational Investment, Little Progress at COP26, The Seed Keeper and more

The bipartisan infrastructure bill sets aside $1.2 trillion dollars in funding for clean water, bridges, and roads, as well as higher-tech infrastructure like EV charging stations and electric school buses. Why the implementation of these projects needs to focus on creating equitable and sustainable systems that will last for generations. Also, the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland brought mixed results with an agreement to phase down coal, side agreements to cut methane emissions and...


Cashing Out Coal, Saving the Tropical Carbon Bank, and more

At the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, the US and European nations agreed to provide $8.5 billion in financing to help South Africa phase out its use of coal power. South Africa, which is experiencing yet another wave of power outages, gets most of its electricity from burning coal and is the largest carbon emitter in Africa. What international aid means for South Africa's energy transition. Also, tropical forests are a treasure trove of biodiversity and contain vast stores of carbon that...


COP26 Challenges, Reining In Methane, Guardians of the Trees and more

As the UN climate talks called COP26 continue in Glasgow, Scotland, all eyes are on world leaders and negotiators as they face challenges to ramp up ambition and commit to substantial climate finance. Also, new EPA rules would strengthen requirements for the oil and gas industry to prevent, identify, and repair methane leaks. Why tackling methane emissions now is key to limiting global warming. And people who live near tropical forests sometimes resort to illegally logging the trees they...


China’s Energy Crunch and Climate, Fast Food with a Side of Phthalates, Plastic Planet and more

Roughly 20 Chinese provinces are enduring rolling electricity blackouts amid a coal and natural gas shortage. How the current energy crunch intersects with China’s long-term climate commitments and the prospects for China’s influence at the UN climate talks. Also, fast food could be even more unhealthy than we knew – laden with phthalates, chemicals that are linked to serious health problems and even early death. And greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production in the United States are...


The Carbon Offset Illusion, A New African Voice on Climate, Right Whales Struggle to Grow and more

More than 170 major companies have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, with many counting on carbon offsets to help them reach that goal. But critics say these offsets are often hard to verify and can give these companies a license to continue to pollute. Also, a conversation with Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate about how the climate crisis is impacting Africa and the discrimination she’s faced in speaking up. And critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are struggling...


Biden Infrastructure and the Environment, Phthalates Linked to Premature Death, Author Richard Powers, and More

The multi trillion dollar budget reconciliation bill working through Congress includes billions of dollars to mitigate climate change, improve drinking water safety, and improve resiliency for coastal communities. Also, a new study finds an association between high levels of phthalate in blood and premature death. These “everywhere chemicals” are linked to elevated risk for cardiovascular deaths for middle-aged Americans. And Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Powers on his new book,...


"Land Back" For Indigenous Peoples, Warming Arctic’s “Pizzly Bear” Hybrids, Rising Seas Threaten Landfills, and more

For Indigenous People’s Day we take a look at the “Land Back” movement that seeks to return land like the Black Hills in South Dakota to its original inhabitants and restore a meaningful connection to the land. Also, with the changing climate, polar bears are moving south in search of food, and grizzly bears are moving north in search of cooler climes. In some cases, the two have mated and created a hybrid animal known as a "pizzly" bear. And until recently landfills in America were often...


Saving Seven Million Lives from Bad Air, Fall Gardening Tips, Putting Food By for a Sustainable Harvest and more

If nations adopt new air quality guidelines from the World Health Organization millions of lives could be saved every year from deadly air pollution. Also, for gardeners in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to take stock of this year’s successes and failures. Find out what you can do now to build fertile soil for next spring. And as the harvest season picks up, we share preservation tips and tricks for keeping the bounty and preventing fresh produce from ending up in landfills. Join...


Big Oil Under Fire for Climate Disinformation; “They Knew”: The Feds’ 50-Year Climate Failure; Widespread Youth Anxiety About Climate and more

Industry and the US federal government have long worked in tandem to sideline climate concerns and continue to promote Earth-warming fossil fuels. Now the US House Oversight and Reform Committee has summoned top executives from Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron and two affiliated lobbying groups to testify in front of a committee hearing in October, as part of an ongoing investigation into the fossil fuel industry's promotion of climate disinformation. Also, for the past 50 years, the US...


“Vaccine Apartheid”: A Call to Delay UN Climate Talks, Getting the US Grid to 40 Percent Solar, Harvard Divests Fossil Fuels and more

As COVID-19 spread continues and vaccine access remains limited in some of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, civil society is warning of a “vaccine apartheid” and calling for a delay of the upcoming UN climate talks. Also, how solar power can produce up to 40% of the nation's electricity by 2035 to meet President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the grid by then. And Harvard University announced that it will no longer invest in fossil fuel companies, following years of refusal...


Hurricane Ida Adds Misery to Cancer Alley, ‘The Hummingbirds’ Gift,’ and more

Hurricane Ida left people in the Louisiana region known as ‘Cancer Alley’ with destroyed homes, no electricity, and polluted water. That’s on top of the toxic air they breathe every day because of some 150 petrochemical plants in the area. We hear from grassroots activist Sharon Lavigne, a 2021 Goldman Prize recipient, about what it’s like living through these disasters and what drives her to keep fighting yet another plastics plant. Also, hummingbirds are truly superlative creatures --...


The Way Forward For People And Our Planet

As Living on Earth celebrates 30 years on the air, we examine this decisive moment for the human species and our challenging relationship with our planet. We meet people who envision a future reshaped by an emerging energy system and new power structures, as we wean off of fossil fuels. Next we take a big-picture view of Earth as a complex and sustaining organism known as Gaia. Over billions of years life has interacted with the elements of this planet in cycles of constant change and...


Alaska Drilling Project Blocked, Chemicals and Breast Cancer Risk, Finding the Mother Tree and more

A major Alaska drilling project to tap 600 million barrels of oil has been blocked. A federal judge ruled in favor of Indigenous and environmental groups, finding that the permitting process has yet to fully consider impacts on the climate and polar bears. Also, higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone lead to a greater risk of breast cancer. Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute have shed new light on how chemical exposure can raise those hormone levels in women, and...


U.N. Report Charts Possible Climate Futures, Investing in Green Infrastructure, Sheltering with Thoreau in the Age of Crisis and more

Scientists are once again sounding the alarm about the climate emergency, with a new UN climate report. Hundreds of experts collaborated to bring together the best science on past, present, and future climate change. Also, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill includes some green measures to address and invest in crumbling American infrastructure. But climate and environmental justice advocates say much more is needed now from a much larger budget reconciliation package that’s in...


Tree Deaths and Climate, ‘Forest Bathing’, Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail and more

Earth’s complex, interconnected climate system means that changes in one part of the world can impact atmospheric moisture and the climate thousands of miles away. Research shows that when trees die in California from drought, wildfires, and bark beetles, that can hinder plant growth all the way across the continent in Eastern North America. Also, every year, several hundred intrepid hikers walk all the way from Mexico to Canada, along the Pacific Crest Trail. At more than twenty-six hundred...


Anxiety and Bad Air, Colorado River in Crisis, Planetary Health and more

Small particulates from fossil fuels are linked to as many as 300,000 excess deaths in the United States each year. And these small, PM 2.5 particulates may also be harming the mental health of children and teens by worsening depression, anxiety, suicidality and more. Also, the Colorado River that carved the Grand Canyon and now quenches the thirst of much of the American West is parched in a “megadrought.” Two key reservoirs are expected to drop to record low levels this year and trigger a...


The Climate Emergency Warning from Extreme Weather, Eco-Justice40, Imagining Wolves Returning to Scotland and more

As a slew of extreme weather events hits the headlines, the evidence mounts we are headed for dangerous thresholds of climate disruption beyond the reach of adaptation to cope. Why sea level rise could be counted in the dozens of feet by 2100, and how an unchecked climate emergency imperils human civilization. Also, the Biden Administration has now rolled out details of its environmental justice plan called Justice40, which aims to share at least 40% of benefits from federal climate and...


Amazon Near Climate Tipping Point, Indigenous People and Forest Care, Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now, and more

New research confirms that the damaged Amazon rainforest is now a net contributor to climate change overall, and parts of the Amazon are showing signs of nearing a crucial “tipping point”. But there is hope for protecting the forest: Indigenous people have taken care of these forests for millennia, and now with the help of a nonprofit they’re using GPS data to take a stand against illegal deforestation. Also, many of us are fixated on the now, and in fact much of the environmental damage we...


The Troubling Decline in Fertility, Chemicals and Hormone Havoc, Winning a Fight Against Plastic Bags and more

Over the past four decades, sperm counts have dropped by more than 50% in the US, and female fertility is also declining. Some chemicals that disrupt hormones are key culprits, including those found in plastics, cosmetics and fracking solutions. Why this looming fertility crisis hits vulnerable communities especially hard. Also, a recent study finds the toxic class of chemicals called PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”, is widespread in lipstick, mascara, and other cosmetics. The ugly...